Virginia Tech pulls away from Liberty to win 73-63
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Joey van Zegeren scored 17 points, and Virginia Tech used efficient offense in the second half to pull away to a 73-63 victory over Liberty on Wednesday night.
Van Zegeren was one of four players in double figures for the Hokies (2-0), who won despite committing 19 turnovers and making 16-of-28 from the free-throw line. Adam Smith and Devin Wilson scored 13 points each, while Justin Bibbs finished with 10 points.
A 3-pointer by Bibbs with 38 seconds left in the first half enabled the Hokies to take a 31-28 lead at halftime. Virginia Tech hit four of its first six shots to start the second half, taking a 40-32 lead on a 3-pointer by Smith with 17:25 remaining.
Midway through the second half, Virginia Tech scored on eight of nine possessions and took a 59-45 lead on two free throws by Wilson with 9:10 left - the Hokies' biggest lead of the game.
The Flames (2-1) cut the lead to 65-59 on a jumper by James Johnson with 4:04 left. But coming out of a timeout, Virginia Tech got a short jumper from Smith with 3:33 to go, and Liberty didn't come closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Liberty hurt itself with 21 turnovers. The Flames were led by Tomasz Gielo, who scored 13.
Virginia Tech: Hokies coach Buzz Williams served as an assistant on the staff of Liberty coach Dale Layer at Colorado State for four years (2000-04). The Hokies are 46-5 versus Big South schools. Virginia Tech leads the series 14-3.
Liberty: Layer served as an assistant on Williams' staff at Marquette during the 2008-09 season. Liberty is now 5-33 all-time against ACC schools.
Virginia Tech is at home against Appalachian State on Saturday.
Liberty travels to Miami (Ohio) on Saturday.